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Recreating First Nations' portage route through Toronto

  • Nov 12, 2015
  • 216 words
  • 1 minutes
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“For historian athletes and voyageur philosophers.” It’s an intriguing tagline for an event that aims to bring attention to a long-forgotten First Nations’ portage route that crosses the city of Toronto.

Photo courtesy Michael Bumby

The so-called Davenportage, now entering its second year, is happening on Nov. 15. It will see teams carry a canoe from Etienne Brulé Park on the shores of the Humber River in Toronto’s west side across a route largely made up of St. Clair Avenue West and Davenport Road to the Evergreen Brick Works (a community environmental centre) on the shores of the Don River in the city’s east end.

The 16.5-kilometre trek roughly follows the historic Davenport Trail, which saw First Nations peoples travel between the two rivers by following a path along the base of the escarpment created at the end of the last ice age by meltwater of retreating glaciers formed by ancient Lake Iroquois, which once covered parts of Ontario and New York state.

Of course, today, the portage is through a landscape that’s definitely all urban. Check out this interactive map to get a sense of the modern-day city the Davenportage crosses, along with highlights of some of the historic sites along the route.


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